Canadian Contractor

By Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter   

Federal Indigenous employability investment unveiled in Kahnawake

Canadian Contractor

Jan. 25, 2024 – A $25 million federal investment into Indigenous employability in Quebec will go a long way toward getting Indigenous people to become full players in the national economy, Employment Minister Randy Boissoneault said at the unveiling last Thursday in Kahnawake.

“Everyone benefits when Indigenous people are provided with the opportunities they need to fully participate in the workforce,” Boissoneault said at the announcement, which was held at the First Nations Human Resources Development Commission of Quebec offices in the Kahnawake Business Complex. “The Skills and Partnership Fund empowers more Indigenous people with the training and resources they need to shape their own career path. We need to be able to have Indigenous people and communities become full players in the federal economy, and this investment will allow them to develop the skills they need to do that.”

The funding will be allocated to the FNHRDCQ for their project, Global Strategy for Indigenous Employability. This project aims to increase the number of Indigenous people in employment or vocational training.

Through this project, executive director Richard Jalbert said, Indigenous communities will be able to get the training they need to help improve their chances of finding jobs.

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“With the support of our nations, we are very excited for this announcement,” Jalbert said. “We are a client-based operation, so when the client comes to us and is looking for support, now we are better positioned to be able to help them. It really confirms the capacity we have here in Quebec.”

Mohawk Council of Kahnawake Grand Chief Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer was also on hand and said she was optimistic for the future of the program, saying the community has a number of gaps in employment that have to be filled.

“We need people in the gaming sector, in the tourism sector, as carpenters – we have contractors around town saying they can’t take on any projects because they don’t have any carpenters,” she said. “We know there are going to be people retiring from executive positions in the next few years. We have a blooming economy here in Kahnawake, and we know that what’s important is the engagement that we are able to help create to help people be a part of the solution.”

Jalbert said it’s only one of the solutions the First Nations Human Resources Development Commission of Quebec has come up with to help Indigenous people compete in the job market.

“We’ve also developed a program to help companies onboard Indigenous people when they are hired on,” he said.

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